Subject 3: Mixed Media Impressionism

“High Noon in Pontocho”
coloured pencils and oil pastels. 22 x 27 cm. September 2017

Coloured pencils and oil pastels lend themselves to out-of-focus subject matter as you can use them in such a soft way that they barely leave a mark.  One of my regular subjects is blurry light.  I take many photos at night without a flash.  When I am photographing I focus on something very close up and then with my finger half-depressed on the shutter-release, gently move the lens so that it is looking into the distance.  With this trick I can get totally out-of-focus scenes. “Composition 11” is typical of this…

"Composition II"

“Composition II”290 x 310 mm, 2012

The result is a fairly abstract composition.  I can concentrate on composition; balance, colours and shapes without being bogged down by detail.  There is a lot of room for interpretation in this sort of drawing as the less detail there is in a photo, the more opportunity there is to use one’s intuition.  There are no hard and fast lines to follow and no absolute borders.  You could say it is a kind of impressionism, made with coloured pencils mixed with oil pastels.

"Bus Stop"

“Bus Stop” 230 x 270 mm, 2011

The whitest of whites in my drawings (often the centres of street lights) are made by doing nothing…in other words…it is the pure white of the paper with no pencil/pastel at all on.

"White Light"

“White Light”210 x 210 mm, 2010

"Lumière" - a street light in Seoul.

“Lumière” – a street light in Seoul. 240 x 270 mm, 2007

The picture above, “Lumière” is a good example of complementary colours at work. How did I get the yellow/orange of the light to be SO yellow/orange?  You wouldn’t necessarily notice but I have mixed lots of purple/blue into the area surrounding the light.  Purple and blue, being the complements of yellow and orange, enable the latter to ‘pop’.

In “White Light” just above “Lumière” you can see the same effect; the pale yellow on the edges of the lantern is surrounded by purple/blue.

Below are some more recent soft-focus or “mixed media impressionism” drawings, completed in 2016.  Because these drawings have elements of abstraction and realism, I call the style Abstract Realism.





In October 2016 I revisited Paris and so now I am starting a new body of soft-focus Paris work.  These drawings will be part of the exhibition Remember Paris to be shown in September 2018.



"Alone in the Upper Marais" 2016

“Alone in the Upper Marais”

Soft-focus drawings from 2017…

"Good Morning Paris" January 2017

“Good Morning Paris”
January 2017

"Just a Moment" January 2017

“Just a Moment”
January 2017

“The Elegant 4th”
April 2017


“Irresistible Blanche”
October 2017

In some drawings most of the area is treated in an impressionist way with just the closest subject in sharp focus.  I like the contrast of these two states.

Tall Poppy
December 2017

“City Slicker”
November 2017
(Jaures, Paris)

Tall Poppy
December 2017

Time and Space

Day Trip to Giverny

Oil pastels and coloured pencils make up my mixed media…

See “My Art Materials” page for more information.

8 Responses to Subject 3: Mixed Media Impressionism

  1. Spectacular work. And I think your failure is very compelling.

    • Ha – thanks – your comment about my failure made me smile. The maiko, Kotomi, was compelling though my drawing didn’t do her justice. However I drew her five other times and all the other ones worked out. What a pity she quit being a maiko as she was quite spectacular.

  2. I love your work, and appreciate the tips. I love working in CP, too, but right now I’m mostly playing with my watercolors. I would love to try some mixed media pieces! I discovered your blog through the CP site on FB! 🙂

  3. Beautiful work. Very inspiring. Thank you

  4. I like this blog (Subject 3: Coloured Pencil Impressionism),it is helpful for me.Thank you Julie Podstolski!

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